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French American International School

Private | PK-10 | 550 students

We are best known for our language immersion and international program.
 
 

 

Living in Portland

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $350,600. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $880.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 1 rating
2013:
Based on 1 rating
2012:
Based on 2 ratings
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

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21 reviews of this school


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Posted January 9, 2014

This is a truly exceptional school. My son's linguistic capabilities are impressive, but that's to be expected at an immersion school. The school's hands-on approach to science from the earliest years pays off - the schools robotics team recently won an Intel competition. Already small classes are continually broken into still smaller groups so that each child receives instruction appropriate for them in all subject areas. And unlike so many other schools these days, Music, art and recess are still part of the educational equation. Love this school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 25, 2013

On of the best, if not the best, private school option in Portland. The academics are stellar, facilities fantastic and expanding, and a wonderful group of parents and teacher. We have two children at the school and there's no better educational opportunity anywhere in the metro area.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 19, 2012

Our older son is in his 3rd yr at FAIS (kindergarten) and he loves it. Our younger son started in PS this year. He has learning disabilities (sensory issues and likely ADHD.) We ended up having to take him out today. However I just want to say that the teachers, administration, counselor, aids, etc were so wonderful throughout the process. They went above and beyond to try and help him be successful there. Meanwhile, our older son is getting so many wonderful experiences from field trips, older kids reading, dancing, singing for the class, library, obstacle course, PE, outdoor forest learning, and yes, the entire global experience. It's a bit expensive but WELL worth it!! The test scores over the years show that if you keep the child in the school over the long run, the scores are at and above both private/public schools in the area. Lastly, soon FAIS will be one of the only IB accredited french curriculum schools. Highly recommend this school for most children.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 22, 2012

Our child started at PS level and first 2 years were great. Our opinion of the school changed from K and above. FAIS might be a good French school but it is not great academically, average at best. For our family learning a second language is not the primary concern and we have been frustrated with the level of math and science education in the school. They have hard time finding competent French speaking teachers and retaining them. Every year there is at least one new teacher. This is a lot if you consider there is only 3 classes at each grade. And parent body is cliquish, class assignments certainly reflect that. It is the French democracy, some people are more equal than others. For the amount of money we are paying, we are not really happy. We'd rather go to a public school but it is hard to pull your child out of the school once you start since their curriculum is different than other schools.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 12, 2011

The French American School complies with the curriculum that is required by the French government. They do have a somewhat differing style, timing, and emphasis. This means that parents whose children are in the early grades may detect a difference in the pace of learning and the subject matter that is being taught. To judge the entire curriculum based on the math skills of an individual student is not necessarily a fair assessment. When speaking with teachers from rigorous high schools such as OES and Catlin Gabel, they give universal praise to the preparation of the students who matriculated at French American School, and the Gilkey International Middle School. We have often heard that the FAIS students are better prepared for high school that their own students. We have had excellent communication between ourselves and the teacher, and have always been welcomed by the teachers.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 1, 2011

As an alumnus of FAIS and a college grad majoring in international political economy, I want to say what a great job FAIS did in preparing me for the challenges of high school and eventually college. FAIS strong academic program, coupled with its international curriculum, prepared me better than most of my peers for the challenges of an academically rigorous college-prep high school. As importantly, my ability to speak three languages fluently has opened up numerous career options for me in today s more global economy. In fact, I truly feel that the educational experience I received at FAIS has had a greater impact on my future than my high school and college experiences combined. Merci beaucoup, FAIS!


Posted December 28, 2010

We were told this was an academic school taught in French. But, we are finding after several years that this is a French school, not an academic school. Academics are lacking in the early years (ps through K). The local public school is more advanced in math than my child is. I feel I need to do a lot of supplemental teaching at home. There is very little communication to the parents on what is going on in the classroom. This is an ongoing concern and the school is doing very little about it. Many parents have complained, but no action to resolve. This is very disappointing considering this is a private school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 17, 2010

We have had great success with our son at the school. He is thriving. Our motivation for placing him at the school has not been singularly focused on language immersion but also on the benefits associated with student teacher ratios that are less than half that in the Oregon Public School equivalent. The school does not prevent students from applying for academic or behavioral reasons. Instead, they are open to all children and work very hard to include everyone. Those who would make sweeping statements regarding who belongs or who does not belong reflect an ignorant and intolerant position that is not reflected by the school staff in my experience. We have found the teachers to be highly capable as well as highly motivated.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 14, 2010

It is a trade-off: more French and less American. Here is an honest assessment. We had two children at FAS until 5th grade and found the teaching standards and quality vary within and between the grades. One child had a far better education than the other. When a student leaves FAS in 1st-5th grade only those with French proficiency can be enrolled. Some children do not belong at FAS for academic or behavioral reasons, making learning a challenge. The teachers are personable. The English curriculum does not meet the same standards as the public schools . There is a lack of flexibility to offer higher levels of work outside the French curriculum . Policy changes are made with little, if any, notice, irritating most. Students from FAS have an automatic acceptance into GIMS; outside students have to present grades and SSAT test scores to qualify. Most FAS students come into GIMS unprepared and not able to meet the new academic expectations; many will be successful at, thrive in, and enjoy GIMS. An immersion program is not for everyone, but both children have easily learned 2 add l languages. We enjoyed being active volunteers and making great friends!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 4, 2010

This is truly one of the premiere foreign language immersion programs in the Country. It provides unparalleled immersion benefits to the children fortunate enough to attend. As such, admission is competitive. Educational opportunities like this are not easily established nor maintained without significant financial support of the families involved. This is especially true in challenging economic times. Enrollment is stable at pre-recession levels and the school is actively investing in its future. Regarding claims of excessive requests for funds: What is telling is the percentage of total yearly budget actually supplied by fund raising less than 10%. The primary source of funding, by far, comes from tuition payments. This is one reason sibling discounts have been eliminated as has become common in most top tier programs nationally in recent years. The school recently completed major expansion of its facilities and appears poised to further expand its IB curriculum.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 1, 2010

Our 2 kids have been at the school for over 5 years from PS on. Even though we have been satisfied with the education and values they have received we are very disappointed with the administration of the school. From the elimination of siblings discounts, the constant requests for funds to the unclear or misleading communications on how the funds are spent; have taken their toll on our patience and trust in the school administration.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 23, 2009

This school is amazing; teachers are all native speakers, academic rigor is the norm, and it is a truly mind-expanding experience for children.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 23, 2009

FAIS' middle school, Gilkey International is truly a great school. Our daughter entered 6th grade at Gilkey from public elementary. Language, humanities, science and math are all top notch. Writing is stressed by amazing teachers, especially in the social sciences and english. Teaching is excellent in all subjects. My daughter discovered the joys of math with the mentoring of remarkable women teachers. Math in particular is helped by the the French approach to academic excellence, but the entire educational model at Gilkey is made better by its influence. Making it the best middle school in the city as far as I'm concerned. I've heard it said that Gilkey kids are often the best prepared for high school, both public and private and that the skills they learn serve as a strong foundation throughout high school and college. Given my daughter's experience this will certainly prove to be true.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 16, 2009

I am currently a student in the 8th grade. Even though the school may not be as big as schools like OES and Catlin it's academics are the same or better for half the price. I love it here and hope that it only becomes better
—Submitted by a student


Posted December 30, 2008

This is a school where our first two kids were. One for 1st and second grade, the second for just 1st grade. The french classes were great and one of the two teachers we delt with was excellent. Unfortunately we moved our kids out after she left because the overall athmosphere and cost/quality level of FAIS seemed below par with other alternatives. The facilities are not great and partly cheap pre-fab. The administration solicitated constantly with requests for more donations but rarely with clear information about the programs. Careful FAIS, an interesting international school in danger of never catching up to the quality level of alternative.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 24, 2008

Our two oldest children attend, with our third child going next year for PS. We chose the school for the academics, which are amazing. Be prepared for lots of structure and discipline, but all the teachers are loving and the classes are small, so the kids get amazing one-on-one support and challenges. Our two kids currently enrolled are very different children, and both are thriving academically and socially because of the techers at this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 10, 2008

The French American School is incredible. Our child has attended since Pre-K and is now in 7th grade. The diversity and culture the school and middle school introduce to children is irreplaceable - especially in today's political climate. Our daughter speaks English, French and is now learning Spanish. Her 5th grade graduation trip was to France and for 8th grade they will most likely go to Spain or Costa Rica. The tuition is reasonable. I would like to see more economic diversity in the student body...but that is why the French American School is in our will. This is an education that should bee available to all children.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 24, 2008

Great education. I'm fluent in English, French and extremely profficient in Spanish. On the other hand, about 25% of my class lacked solid social skills after graduating. It really showed in high school.
—Submitted by a student


Posted April 24, 2008

Love, love this school. We have 2 children attending - the teachers are amazing, the curriculum is outstanding and we cannot even think of one negative comments about this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 21, 2006

This is a very excellent school that offers a french program. we speak french every minute except when we have an hour of english class a day.i just graduated and went on a trip to france with my classmates and i am now in their Gilkey middle school!
—Submitted by a student


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 82% 65%
Two or more races 14% 5%
Black 2% 3%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 1% 4%
Hispanic 1% 21%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 2%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Math specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Nurse(s)
Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
School social worker/counselors(s)
Speech and language therapist(s)
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Arabic languages
Chinese (Mandarin)
French
German
Spanish
Farsi; Romanian; Laotian
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Staff resources available to students
  • Speech and language therapist(s)

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Science lab
Clubs
  • Math club
  • Recycling club
  • Robotics club

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Design
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile design
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Rock band
  • Theory
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • Computer animation
  • Graphics
  • Technical design and production
  • Video / Film production

Language learning

Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Foreign languages taught
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Staff resources available to students
  • Speech and language therapist(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Arabic languages
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Farsi; Romanian; Laotian
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Gym
  • Kitchen
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:15 am
School end time
  • 3:15 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:30 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Pam Dreisin
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 2 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Block scheduling
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • French Ministry of Education
  • IB
  • NAIS
  • NWAIS
Fax number
  • (503) 292-7444

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Global
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Vocational or skills-based training offered
  • None

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
  • School social worker/counselors(s)
  • Speech and language therapist(s)
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
  • Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Arabic languages
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Farsi; Romanian; Laotian
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
  • Counseling
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring
College preparation / awareness resources offered
  • None
Transportation options
  • Carpool Assistance
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Gym
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Performance stage
  • Playground
  • Science lab
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Fencing
  • Judo / Other Martial Arts
  • Soccer
  • Track
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Fencing
  • Judo / Other Martial Arts
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Track
  • Volleyball

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Design
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile design
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Rock band
  • Theory
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • Computer animation
  • Graphics
  • Technical design and production
  • Video / Film production

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Chess club
  • Math club
  • Recycling club
  • Robotics club
  • Student council/government
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

TIP: Don't forget to ask about documents required for enrollment, such as your child's birth certificate, proof of address, or a record of immunizations.

 
Apply now
 

What are your chances?


8 out of 10students were accepted for the 2012-2013 school year.


Students accepted for the 2012-2013 school year
128
Applications received for the 2012-2013 school year
165

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$12000 - $17000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid
French Bourse

Planning ahead

College preparation / awareness offered
None
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

8500 NW Johnson Street
Portland, OR 97229
Website: Click here
Phone: (503) 292-7776

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